Monday, September 19, 2022

Cup Runneth Over


As the saying goes, “the cup runneth over.” When children arrive to our home on Sundays for art projects it is high energy in our otherwise mostly tranquil setting. They are excited before they arrive. Girls sit together and two boys are side by side, with a mother and sister at their table. The happiness level goes up even more once materials are taken up and projects begun.


Recently we have been working on making an alebrije; a magical creature of wood painted imaginatively in bright colors. On our recent trip to the the USA, Amy found wooden grasshoppers at a second hand store. There were many of them in boxes. “Hey, these would be great for our childrens classes!” she said. They come with a stick that makes a cricket sound when rubbed against the ridges at the bottom. We bought a bunch and brought them back to Oaxaca. The children have been painting them.
We allow limited entry in our house, mostly to clean up, use the toilet or head to the backyard. The kids are highly curious of our home since it is luxurious. Their eyes get big and mouths drop open. They are amazed we have two bathrooms, and hot water. Often the girls beg to stay when it is time to leave. 



There is a big tree in our backyard and when class ends the two boys jump up and run to it. The girls follow and before long all are swinging from limbs and laughing hard tumbling on the grassy earth.


Next project will be painting gourds. 

Also, we will hand out and discuss booklets made by an American veterinarian who lives in Oaxaca. It is how to treat animals respectfully. They also are coloring books.




We know we are making a difference in lives here in the little pueblo of San Pedro Ixtlahuaca on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. And we are being transformed as well!

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Las Mañanitas

Marta with her mom and two granddaughters

Sitting among friends in the home down the hill from us, I experienced contentment. 
Our frame maker Mayolo had come to us the day before to invite us to a birthday celebration for his wife Marta. The two of them are about the same age as usa little younger with grown children. We promised to take the short walk down our road and meet them at their house 2 PM the next day.

I knew I would be awkward because of my inability to converse in Spanish. The same as if I were at a party in Italy, or Japan or anywhere while people joked and laughed and looked at me longing to talk but I could not. I resolved to be in my core, as a loving entity among friends who would not judge me harshly.
I have been in these situations many times across the globe. If I am invited into a humble home by someone who is a friend, although I may not speak fluently with everyone, love speaks louder and can be conveyed through eye contact and gesture. (See an earlier post from Egypt: What I want and More )






Amy speaks better Spanish and can stumble along in conversations rather well. We enjoyed meeting the extended family and sharing the love. Wonderful food was served and an organic homemade cake. A fireworks candle flared from atop the cake in front of Marta as she sat with her twin granddaughters on each side. Then the group sang Las Mañanitas, the happy birthday song.


When we got home with a few gifts we were given I felt happy and content. Amy told me Mayolo had merrily shared with the group his happiness at knowing us and had spoken of our talents and virtues. I had heard him speaking and did not understand all he said. He is a special man and friend, gifted with talents and a loving heart. I hope to be able converse with him when I learn more Spanish.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Where is Your Blog?


The first of my 720 blog posts was written and uploaded 16 years ago: Friday, September 29. 2006. The average novel contains about 80,000 words. There are 587,287 words in Tolstoy’s great novel, War and Peace.  I am reading it now, for the second time. (I first read it when I was eighteen years old.) 

My Fairytale Life
taken together as a whole, is my War and Peace.

The last time I posted was June 12, three months ago. Usually I post every weekend. I have been amiss.  Especially since it has not been for lack of experiences to share. My cousin in Dallas, Texas, a retired surgeon, asks, "Where is your blog?"


When Amy and I returned from a sojourn to Europe in May and June, our village celebrated its annual festival after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic. San Pedro Ixtlahuaca puts on a feast of sights and sounds, especially at night with the whirling dancers with fireworks strapped to their bodies.




Amy's two paintings, and Steven's "Rooster Serenade."

Within a month we set out again for three weeks, this time driving from Oaxaca to Santa Fe New Mexico, USA, 1720 miles and four days. Amy also flew to Nebraska and did a workshop during that time. We brought three paintings with us and delivered them to collectors in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.  The drive from southern Mexico into the USA is long and arduous, though entertaining too. Those days could be chapters in a book not written about here. 
Our storage unit in Santa Fe is where we have art stored. We sold about ten pieces during our visit.



We returned in time for the finale of Guelaguetza at the end of July. The Guelaguetza, or Los lunes del cerro, is an annual indigenous cultural event that takes place in the city of Oaxaca, capital of the state of Oaxaca, and nearby villages. The celebration features traditional costumed dancing by gender-separated groups. The parade we witnessed through the streets of downtown was jubilant, stirring, colorful, full of music, with costume and dance and totally pleasing to the crowds lining the avenues.


Taking advantage of the rainy season we planted some big trees around our property. Everyday I begin work after breakfast by cutting brush and waist high grass, surveying our precious trees and plants for evidence of insect damage or blight and tending to needs of our cultured “plantas.” The big issue now is grasshoppers by the millions. They eat all the time! I have to spray poison. Today when I went out to a corner of the property I seldom visit, a mature nopal cactus had toppled down because of the weight of its paddles. If I had been more perceptive, I would have trimmed it.



Our neighbor children have come on Sundays for free art projects that we sponsor. Our hearts are becoming intertwined. 



The next big event is Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead at the beginning of November. It is fabulous and this year Amy and I are going to go in costume with faces painted.


There is plenty to write about each week.